Santarém is a municipality in the state of Pará in Brazil. The Tapajós joins the Amazon River there, and it is a popular location for tourism. It is the second most important city in the state and the financial and economic center of the western part of the state. It is the head of the Santarém Metropolitan Area, which is made by Santarém, Belterra and Mojuí dos Campos. It was once home to the Tapajós Indians, a tribe of Native Americans after which the river was named, and the leaders of a large, agricultural chiefdom that flourished before the arrival of Europeans. The Brazilian city is the home to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santarém. It is located some 800 km (500 mi) from both the largest cities in the Amazon, Manaus, and the state capital Belém.
Santarém has an estimated population of 299,419 people (2012 Census), being the third most populous city of the state. The city occupies an area of 22 887,087 km2² (14 304,42 sq mi), of which 77 km2 are urban areas.
Because of the crystalline waters of the Tapajós River, Santarém has more than 100 km (62 mi) of natural beaches, like the village of Alter do Chão, known as the "Caribbean in Brazil" and chosen by The Guardian as one of the most beautiful Brazilian beaches and the most beautiful fresh water beach. Alter do Chão is also home to Sairé, one of the most important folklore festivals of the region which is held there every year in September.
Many seek to create a new Brazilian state by dividing the enormous state of Pará into western and eastern regions. The new state (the western part) would be called Tapajós, with Santarém serving as the capital.